The hosts of Car Talk, the popular pubradio show celebrating its 25th season this fall, are retiring, they announced to listeners today (June 8). Tom and Ray Magliozzi, aka Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers, actually started the show 10 years earlier at WBUR in Boston. Tom is 74 years old, Ray is 63.
An NPR press release said that they will not tape new shows but their weekly call-in series will continue to be distributed from their archives of 1,200 shows beginning in October. The two will continue to write their twice-weekly “Dear Tom and Ray” column.
Car Talk evolved out of what was supposed to be a call-in show with a panel of mechanics, according to a June 1995 story in Current. The WBUR volunteer/producer called the brothers to sit on the panel and Tom agreed, thinking that it would generate business for the pair’s fledgling garage. As it turned out, Tom was the only one of six mechanics who showed up. “It was a wild success,” said Ray, “two or three people called in.” The producer, who soon left the show, asked the brothers to do it every week. “And we figured ‘What the hell!’,” Ray said.
UPDATE: KQED has Storyfied fan reaction to the announcement.